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Author Topic: [Tarots RPG] just another game that uses tarot cards...  (Read 2936 times)
giovannipezz
Registree

Posts: 3


« on: July 19, 2004, 03:48:11 AM »

Hello!

Here I present my little creature:
Tarots is an Universal Role Playing System based on Divination of Tarots and inspired by Everway, Chimeres, Castle Falkenstein and GURPS.

 http://giovannipezz.angelcities.com/tarots/

some central features:

- Each character is mainly defined by three Mayor Arcana and three minor arcana.
- Each Player has is own Tarot Deck and a Hand composed of some cards (4 for Normal players).
- Cards are used for fueling actions. Cards in Hand and Deck gives to the players an idea of what his character is able to do. It allows to plan elaborate strategies, too, e.g. treasure some cards. Moreover, cards used in own turns (e.g. for an attack) are replaced only at the new Turn: so players have to take care to their Hand. All this gives a sense to the metaphor: Play your cards right!
- Normal RPG abstractions such as Hit Points, Fatigue Points and Magic Points are replaced by card dynamics. For example, the main effect of being hit is losing cards from Hand: as a consequence, the character has less possibilities to act, until he faints with zero cards in Hand.
- not simulationist at all...
---

happy to join the Forge!
feel free to give me some feedback...
Giovanni
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LordSmerf
Member

Posts: 864


« Reply #1 on: July 19, 2004, 12:45:57 PM »

Welcome to the Forge.

I guess my first comment should be: "What exactly can we help you with?"

Is there any specific design issue you feel needs work, or anything that you think is missing from the game?  Your basic description is interesting, but i'm not really sure what you want in terms of feedback.  In all honesty there is not really enough detail for me to be able to say "Sounds like fun" or not.

Thomas
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Current projects: Caper, Trust and Betrayal, The Suburban Crucible
giovannipezz
Registree

Posts: 3


« Reply #2 on: July 21, 2004, 03:03:12 AM »

Thank you LordSmerf!

Tarots RPG uses a lot of concepts and symbols from (real) hermetic tradition, e.g. the four elements, the narrative power of arcana, symbolic correspondences... I think these elements -as well as tarot decks- are so stimulating and "grounded" that can be easily exploited for good storytelling. So, nothing new about this –and nothing to ask you (but comments are welcome, of course).

I think the most innovative idea of Tarots RPG is in its card dynamics. You have some cards in your Deck and in your Hand (this depends on your importance). You fuel actions either by cards in the Deck or in your Hand; but you redraw cards from Hand only at your next turn -so you have to manage them well. This allows great tactics, too: treasuring good cards, etc.

Cards dynamics (e.g. losing cards) are an abstraction for hit points, fatigue, magic points, too. In this way there is a "concrete" counterpart of e.g. being hit, or being fatigued: you have "less cards in your hand" (and deck). When you have no more cards in Hand, you feint. The point is: you experience directly the consequences of what you do: if you do a lunge, you are more vulnerable; if you are hit or fatigued, you can do less things. No need of taking separate notes of all this; and no need of e.g. “–4 to all actions when you have half your hit points”.

At the same time, I have a “storyteller stance” towards characters. More important characters have to be allowed to have a central role in the scene. It is a matter of relevance, not characteristics of power. How this translates in Tarots RPG?

More powerful characters have more cards in their Deck, but more important characters have more cards in their Hand.

In my personal view, basic characteristics and cards in the Deck are a metaphor for “raw possibilities”: if I am strong (10 in the sphere of Fire) and I have the 10 of Wands in my deck I can lift quite a lot, and my attacks can be very impressive.

Cards in Hand are a metaphor for “game relevance”: thus, more Important characters can "do more things". As a side effect, they are more difficult to “eliminate from the scene” (e.g. to feint or to kill). Note the striking contrast with the classical “hit point” perspective: here an important character (e.g. Frodo in LOTR) can be central and relevant despite his lack of strength.

I have implemented these concepts (and some more) in Tarots RPG. I would be very happy to discuss with you about this: are they sound/appropriate? Have I re-implemented other’s ideas (in this case, this was not my intention). I would be very happy to know your opinion. I have linked my webpages, so if you want to take a look at the files (there are many in English, and many more in Italian), and of course if you want to play it –I would be very happy!

Disclaimer: all this has nothing to do with Collectible Card Games.
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MarcoBrucale
Member

Posts: 18


« Reply #3 on: July 21, 2004, 04:12:10 AM »

I'd like to add my 2c. All is strictly IMHO.
Quote
I think the most innovative idea of Tarots RPG is in its card dynamics. You have some cards in your Deck and in your Hand (this depends on your importance). You fuel actions either by cards in the Deck or in your Hand; but you redraw cards from Hand only at your next turn -so you have to manage them well. This allows great tactics, too: treasuring good cards, etc.

Cards dynamics (e.g. losing cards) are an abstraction for hit points, fatigue, magic points, too. In this way there is a "concrete" counterpart of e.g. being hit, or being fatigued: you have "less cards in your hand" (and deck). When you have no more cards in Hand, you feint. The point is: you experience directly the consequences of what you do: if you do a lunge, you are more vulnerable; if you are hit or fatigued, you can do less things. No need of taking separate notes of all this; and no need of e.g. “–4 to all actions when you have half your hit points”.
Cards in Hand are a metaphor for “game relevance”: thus, more Important characters can "do more things". As a side effect, they are more difficult to “eliminate from the scene” (e.g. to feint or to kill). Note the striking contrast with the classical “hit point” perspective: here an important character (e.g. Frodo in LOTR) can be central and relevant despite his lack of strength.

All the above considerations apply also to 'Dragonlance 5th Age'. It worked exactly in this way. It's an OK mechanic, but I that the central point is to use it to focus some facet of the gaming dynamics. I mean, it's not 'per se' better than other mechanics, unless you manage to make it relevant to the game as a whole.
In D:5thAge, for example, the implied style of play was not much different from standard D&D, so the card-based system was like a fish out of the pond IMHO.
So the main questions are: how do you plan to bind the main game mechanic to your specific setting? What peculiarities do you need your system to have to reflect the gaming style you want to obtain?

You have to be happy with what you have to be happy with
MarcoBrucale
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Marco Brucale
giovannipezz
Registree

Posts: 3


« Reply #4 on: July 21, 2004, 05:26:35 AM »

Ciao!

When I started thinking about Tarots, the Saga System (used in 5th age) was not jet published, and I was not aware of this until a friend of mine pointed out the resemblances. There are many resemblances with Castle Falkenstein and Everway, too.

Only for the sake of precision, I have to point out that there are some differences, e.g.
1) you redraw only when your new turn starts;
2) when you reshuffle the deck you lose 1 card from hand as an effect of fatigue;
3) cards of the good suit have full value, cards of a wrong suit have value 1 and produce an Harmonic, i.e. a minor interference of the 'wrong' element, especially important in magic
4) Tarots is much less concerned with maths and modifiers -when I was able to avoid them!
5) Tarots uses tarots! this is not a minor point IMHO
6) Saga system maintains some traditional assumptions (e.g. losing hit points) in addition to card dynamics; Tarots fully replaces them.
7) I think that (maybe for corporation goals) Saga System stays closer to a traditional RPG; e.g. I can motivate the choice of having a five-suits deck (as well as the custom deck of Everway) instead of the tarot deck only with the need to sell decks.

Maybe all these points can seem minor, but devil is in the details :-)
IMHO they allow better storytelling and tactics -trough- cards.

And here I pass to your most important point. I fully agree that it is important 'how rules are interlaced with the gaming style'. I think that Tarots allows a game style that 1) privileges interpretation and 2) avoids talking out-of-play.

A very important reason is using of the tarots themselves: they are so rich of symbolism and correspondences... But there are some elements in the rules that help. I give some hints in the Master Manual, e.g.

"Combat, as well as all other game phases, should be interpreted; it is better to describe shots and parries that reading numbers: the game allows to avoid talking about numerical values. Normally, attacks and defenses are described in the details and the cards used are shown: this allows a rich tactical game, too. If a Player receives an attack, he sees the card that is used for attacking but he does not know which is the final attack value: so he has a certain uncertainty about which defense to use; during the duel the Player learns to evaluate his opponent’s strengths and strategy (and some duels can only be used in order evaluate opponents). Master’s description has to be as rich as needed, but the Player may be wrong in his evaluation…
Combat is played as a set of verbal actions between opponents (e.g. Master and Player):
M.: Ross tries a lunge without too much strength (he plays a non-fire card from Hand, final attack value 7)
P.: I withdraw and parry; I don’t know his strength, maybe he tries to feint (he prudently plays a 3 of Circles from Hand, final defense value 12)
M.: your parry is successful, it seems to you more vulnerable… (considering he has used a card from Hand and now has 3)
..."

I hope all this is in the spirit of your questions.

This mechanism works even better for magic, but I do not want to bore you with a longer post! (there is the hermetic magic manual online)
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